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duties to be done, and upon me as the proper person to do them. When I went to visit the sick I had nothing to say to them; so I read a few Collects, and sometimes gave them a little temporal relief, for which they thanked me; but I came out dissatisfied with myself, and longed for something more, though I did not know what.
Notwithstanding all these trials and disappointments, my health was gradually improving. I found that the air of this place was like meat and drink, and gave me an appetite for something more substantial. I very often frequented the beach, with its beautiful cliffs, and was much exhilarated by the bracing sea air; indeed, I had, and still retain, quite a love for the place. As my strength and energy increased, I rode about the parish all day, making the acquaintance of the people, and inviting them to come to church.
During my visits, I found out that the churchwarden was a good musician, and that he knew others in the parish who were able to play on various instruments; so in order to improve the services, and make them more attractive, I urged him to invite these musical people to his house to practise; and in due course we had a clarionet, two fiddles, and his bass viol, with a few singers to form a choir. We tried over some metrical psalms (for there were no hymnbooks in those days), and soon succeeded in learning them. This musical performance drew many people to church. The singers were undeniably the great attraction, and they knew it; consequently I was somewhat in their power, and had to submit to various anthems and pieces, such as "Vital Spark," "Angels Ever Bright and Fair," and others, not altogether to my taste, but which they evidently performed to their own praise and satisfaction.
Finding that the people were beginning to frequent the church, I thought it was time to consider what steps should be taken about its restoration, and made it the subject of
conversation with the farmers. It awakened and alarmed many of them when I said that the church must be restored, and that we must have a church rate. The chief farmer shook his head, saying, “You cannot carry that ;" but I replied, "According to law, you are bound to keep up the fabric, and it ought to be done. I will write to the Vicar at once about it." He was a non-resident pluralist.
The farmer smiled at that, and said, laughing, "I will pledge myself that we will do as much as he does." It so happened that the Vicar, equally incredulous about the farmers doing anything, promised that he would do one half, if they would do the other.
Having ascertained this to my satisfaction, I immediately sent for the mason of the village, who played the clarionet in the church, also his son, who was 66 one of the fiddles," and consulted with them as to how this matter was to be accomplished. They, being in want of work at the time, readily advised me in favour of restoration. The churchwarden (the "bass viol") said "that he had no objection to this proceeding, but that he would not be responsible. In two months," he added, "would be the annual vestry meeting." "That will do," I said, interrupting him; and I made up my mind that I would at once restore the church, and let the parishioners come and see it at that time.
Having made all necessary preparations, we commenced one fine Monday morning with repairing the roof and walls; and while the men were employed outside, we took out the windows and opened all the doors, to let the wind blow through, that the interior of the building might be thoroughly dried. This done, we next coloured the walls, also the stone arches and pillars (they were far too much broken to display them); and having cleaned the seats and front of the gallery, we stained and varnished them, matted the floor, carpeted the sacrarium, and procured a new cloth for
the Communion Table, and also for the pulpit and readingdesk.
All this being completed, I painted texts with my own hands on the walls, in old English characters. I had great joy in writing these, for I felt as if it was to the Lord Himself, and for His name, and finished with Nehemiah's prayer, "Remember me, O my God, concerning this; and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof" (Neh. xiii. 14).
Altogether, it was a pretty church now, and a pretty sum was to be paid for it. I told the vestry that I alone was responsible, but that the Vicar had promised to pay one half if the vestry would pay the other. It seemed to be such a joy to them to get anything out of him, that they made a rate at once; and upon the Vicar's letter, raised the money and paid off the debt.
The people were much pleased with their church in its new aspect, and brought their friends and neighbours to see it. Besides this, I observed something which gratified me very much. It was that when they entered the church they did so with reverence, taking off their hats and walking softly, in place of stamping with their heels and coming in with their hats on, as they too often had previously done, without any respect or concern whatever. A neglected place of worship does not command reverence.
My church now began to be the talk of the neighbourhood. Numbers of people came to see it, and among them several clergymen, who asked me to come and restore their churches.
There were many places where the people could not afford to rebuild the structure. In such, I was invited to exercise my skill in repairing, as I had done with my own; in others, I was asked to give designs for restoring portions of the edifice; and in some, for rebuilding altogether.
THE "PEEL" DISTRICTS.
In this district, schools were not built nor parsonage-houses enlarged without sending for me.
For several years I was looked upon as an authority in architectural matters. I rode about all over the county from north to west, restoring churches and designing schools, and was accounted the busiest man alive; and my horse, my dog, and myself, the "three leanest things in creation," we were to be seen flying along the roads, day and night, in one part or another.
The Bishop of Exeter, who at that time presided over Cornwall, appointed me to make new "Peel" districts.* I designed nineteen, and made all the maps myself, calling on the Vicars and Rectors for their approbation. I was at this time a very popular man, and it was said that "the Bishop's best living" would be given to me in due time.
The "Peel" districts were the new ecclesiastical districts created under the Church Extension Act, introduced by Sir Robert Peel.
Antiquarian Researches and Ministry.
NOTHER thing which raised my name in and beyond the county was the "Lost Church at Perranzabuloe. There was an old British church existing in some sand-hills in the parish, and it was said to be entire as far as the four walls. The hill under which it was buried was easily known by the bones and teeth which covered it. The legend said that the patron saint, St. Piran, was buried under the altar, and that close by the little church was a cell in which he lived and died. This was enough. I got men, and set to work to dig it up. After some days' labour we came to the floor, where we discovered the stone seats, and on the plaster on the wall the greasy marks of the heads and shoulders of persons who had sat there many centuries ago. We found the chancel step, and also the altar tomb (which was built east and west, not north and south). It was fallen, but enough remained to show the original shape and height of it.
I put a notice in the newspapers, inviting people to come and see the old church which had been buried for fifteen hundred years! In the presence of many visitors, clerical and lay, we removed the stones of the altar, and found the